Thursday December 20 8:17 PM ET
FBI Declines to
Release Hijack Flight Cockpit Tape
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The
FBI has turned down family requests that it release
the cockpit voice recording from an airliner
hijacked on Sept. 11 that crashed in a Pennsylvania
field, saying the horror captured on the tape would
do little to assuage their grief.
"(FBI) Director (Robert) Mueller has
personally listened to the recording from the
hijacked flight and advised that the FBI will not
be releasing the tape at this time," FBI spokesman
John Collingwood said in a letter to U.S.
Rep. Ellen Tauscher that the congresswoman's
office released on Thursday.
"While we empathize with the grieving families,
we do not believe that the horror captured on the
cockpit voice recording will console them in any
way," Collingwood said.
a California Democrat, had written to the FBI on
behalf of Deena Burnett, whose husband
Thomas was among those aboard the plane when
it was hijacked on Sept. 11.
Unlike three other passenger jets hijacked that
day that crashed into the World Trade Center and
the Pentagon, United Flight 93 crashed into a field
in Pennsylvania, apparently brought down amid a
passenger revolt against the hijackers.
Burnett and several other relatives of Flight 93
passengers have asked the government to release the
cockpit voice recorder, saying they hoped it would
reveal what really happened during the final
minutes before the plane crashed, killing all 45
The Justice Department
and the Federal Bureau of Investigation declined
to release even an edited transcript of Flight
93's cockpit voice recorder, saying that it is
evidence in a criminal investigation.
The FBI's Collingwood repeated that the tape was
being held as evidence, and said Mueller believed
that the families would gain nothing from listening
to the tape.
"While we share your interest in providing Mrs.
Burnett with peace of mind, we do not believe that
any of the victim's families would find comfort in
the recording," Collingwood said. "Furthermore, the
voices are, for the most part,
A number of other recordings, made by other
aircraft and air traffic control, have surfaced
that appear to support the belief that passengers
clashed with the hijackers in the final minutes of
Collingwood said that while the FBI would not
accede to the families' request for the tape, "we
hope that they will take comfort in knowing that
all of America embraces the passengers and flight
crew of Flight 93 as
Related item on this website:
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necessarily indicate military activity |
Pauly agrees | so
does David Mirfin | and
Warren Peterson urges us to drop the conspiracy
theory on Flight 93